Orlando City (6-3-4, 22 pts) comes home this Thursday night for a critical Eastern Conference showdown with Philadelphia Union (6-3-5, 23 pts). The match, presented by Disney, is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Radio coverage will be available from 7 p.m. on FM 96.9 the Game in English and Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about Philly:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - CM Leon Flach (FC St. Pauli), AM Daniel Gazdag (Budapest Honvéd FC), CB Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock), RB Alvas Powell (Al-Hilal)
Key Departures - AM Brendan Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), CB Mark McKenzie (Genk), RB Ray Gaddis (retirement)
Player News - The Union have a trio of players away at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, all featuring for Jamaica. Two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake, center forward Cory Burke and right back Alvas Powell have helped the Reggae Boyz into the knockout rounds with group stage victories over Suriname and Guadeloupe. Meanwhile, center back Jack Elliott and forward Sergio Santos found themselves on the MLS Team of the Week last week after lifting the Union to a 2-1 win over D.C. United.
Take a look at the Union’s full roster here.
Philly’s victory over D.C. last weekend snapped a three-game winless drought, but the Union have been extremely difficult to beat in 2021. Philadelphia is 6-1-4 in their last 11 matches, carrying their 2020 Supporters’ Shield form into the new campaign. The Union are also the only MLS team remaining in this year’s CONCACAF Champions League. They’ll face Mexican powerhouse Club América in a two-legged semifinal starting in August.
Orlando and Philadelphia have played a fairly even series over the years, with the Union holding a slight 4-3 edge in victories. The two teams have also drawn five times. The Lions and Union met at last year’s MLS is Back Tournament in the final Group A match, with goals from Ilsinho and Mauricio Pereyra two minutes apart canceling each other out in a 1-1 draw. That result allowed Orlando to win the group on goal differential.
Rasmussen University Fact
Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin and Orlando’s Oscar Pareja finished first and second, respectively, in the 2020 MLS Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year voting. It was the first time winning the honor for Curtin, who guided the Union to their first-ever trophy in the Supporters’ Shield. Pareja had previously won the award with FC Dallas in 2016.